Amazon Go Thoughts

Featured image credit: Indiana Stan under creative commons. 

Just a couple of thoughts on the ‘Amazon Go’ store opening in Seattle next year.

The basic concept, if you’re not already aware, is that you scan your Amazon app when you go into the store, then take items off the shelf, and your virtual bill is calculated using advanced sensors and cameras in store, similar to how self-driving cars work. You can then leave the store once you’ve picked up everything you want, and you’re charged for the items on your Amazon account.

A video to demonstrate:

Just a few things:

1. How will it cope with loads of people?

I mean, shops get crowded, don’t they? Surely this ‘advanced’ technology should be powerful enough to calculate every individual shopper in-store at once. Crowds of people may be an issue though.

2. Customer’s batteries failing on their phones.

“Yes, honey…I’m in the store now, did you want green or red milk-” “Hello?” “Oh shit.” How will they get around this problem? The sensors won’t be able to identify individual shoppers.
Does Amazon have a magic wireless charging system that simultaneously charges phones? Will this system also be able to manipulate our brain waves into spending more money in the store? Who knows. Advanced technology, folks.

3. Shoplifters shifting barriers/taking other people’s food.

Just imagine someone jumping over the barriers and nicking a couple of- wait a minute. This whole store is a giant CCTV system anyway. Doesn’t matter there won’t be any staff in there. Moving on…

4.’Just walk out’ signs at the door.

A nice friendly welcome!

That’s not very friendly. Where’s the customer service there? Oh, wait…no staff members. I forgot. Let’s address this now.

5. Death of the till clerk?

Not likely. Thousands of jobs are on the line here, so if this technology is successful next year, the big supermarkets need to decide whether it would be a good idea to get rid of the till clerks, assistants and greeters who make our shopping experience just a bit more bearable. They need customer service. I certainly couldn’t shop somewhere only with cameras and annoying self-service checkouts. However…

6. Could it work for clothes shops?

Walk in, put jacket on, walk out. Would make it so much easier.

Just as an end point, there might be something good to come out of this, and that is the death of the ‘impulse buy’ at checkouts. With no checkouts means no stacks of chewing gum, confectionery or magazines which we definitely don’t need.
On the other hand, we now have a store where we can walk in, grab something, walk out. It’s just a massive checkout. Ultimate impulse buying right there. Should be called ‘Amazon Impulse’. Sounds better! Can I get a job in marketing?


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